Quick Hit: Devastating in its portrayal of a marriage’s deconstruction, but may not go far enough.
Is it any wonder that this movie would eventually show up on the site? As some of you may know, I’m a HUGE Beatles fan, to the point that I may or may not have ink on my body to prove it. Therefore, when I saw the title of this sitting on a shelf, I know eventually I would have to watch it. Combine that with the fact that the film is part of a trifecta – first Her and then Him, which in turn were edited together to form Them. It almost makes me think of Linklater’s Boyhood in a way in its ambition.
The general gist of the story is that Eleanor (Jessica Chastain) and Conor (James McAvoy) have experienced an event that has changed their lives. This causes Eleanor to move back in with her parents, played by William Hurt and Isabelle Huppert (Elle). These relationships are nearly enough to mine a movie out of, but we also have Eleanor returning to school, where she falls under the tutelage of Professor Lillian Friedman (Viola Davis of Suicide Squad and Fences). Couple that with the scenes she shares with her single mother sister (played by Jess Weixler) and you have a pretty terrific movie.
The writing is just devastating in the way it portrays Eleanor’s life. From a suicide attempt to the relationship that was destroyed with Conor, you can’t help but feel your heart break again and again. It never truly builds to a climax, and that’s unfortunate. But Chastain shows why she’s one of the best actresses working currently as she seemingly gives her character even more to work with. She has a rich depth to Eleanor that’s presentable whether she’s just lying on the bed, walking down the street, or listening in class. This a woman who wants to reinvent herself if she can only succeed in breaking free from her baggage.
Honestly, this movie probably would have been better suited to completely leave Conor out of it. I understand that movie wouldn’t have worked, especially in the grand theme of everything else in the works with Him and Them, but this would have been better. Conor is the least interesting of all the characters here, which takes away from time with Chastain and Huppert. Their strained mother-daughter relationship is an extremely unique one that is rarely given on screen.
Without having gone back and watched Him, I wouldn’t have really understood Conor at all. I think this film should be watched in the two parts that made it up. I’m only rating one of them though, so I’m going to give Her a “B-“.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"